The PJ Tatler

Compromise: Government’s Mental Illness

Earlier today, Ray Lahood, the Secretary of Transportation, lectured Congress to to compromise: “Compromise is how Congress always worked. We always take a little, give a little. It’s the way it has always worked.” He further admonished them to get busy and resume doing business as, in his view, it should be done. The excellent 1957 film, “Fear Strikes Out”, examined the life of Jimmy Piersall, a brilliant pitcher whose career was diminished by mental illness, an affliction both the film and Piersall’s biography ascribed to his overbearing, shortsighted, and expedient father. A remarkable scene finds Piersall in a mental home, furiously resisting the efforts of a psychiatrist to help him come to terms with his demons. In the process the psychiatrist suggests Piersall’s problems stem from his father. Piersall snaps, screams at the shrink, “You leave my father out of this! It’s because of him I got to where I am today!” To emphasize his point Anthony Perkins (who plays Piersall) slams his fist on the window whose bars were part of the restraints keeping him where he was that day: a prisoner in a mental institution. Secretary Lahood should note the irony when he suggests that compromise is devotedly to be wished because “it got us where we are today”: a government in almost complete denial, sacrificing its own wellbeing and that of our nation in order to avoid the truth and allow them to continue on a destructive course that, while it may insure the participants’ reelection, can surely only lead them to Jimmy Piersall’s old ward. He won’t be there; he faced the truth and returned to sanity.